Week 1

The first day of class we took time to know each our Tutor and classmates who were all studying audio bachelor or diploma level. In the same activity we took time to go through the course module going through all the requirements needed to succeed in completing .

The most significant things I got from this activity are

  • Going into breakout rooms where I got to meet two of my colleagues who both were studying their diploma certificate.
  • Transferrable skills refresher that will count on my resume for potential jobs.
  • New ways on reflecting our work through learning journals
  • Assessment task with Earmaster 7

Reflection

The breakout rooms served more on getting to know my colleagues background and that helped me to share what I was studying and how far I have come along. I noticed that both classmates were studying their diploma in Audio and encouraged them to consider a bachelors in Audio in the long run.

I felt like the breakout rooms served an opportunity for transferrable skills in the sense that getting to know each other skills, weaknesses and strengths and if we were to be working on a project we would identify the appropriate task that would suit each individual.

The new ways of reflecting using learning journals is a great way of reporting or reflecting on ongoing progress the subject. Technically creating a learning a learning journal was not as smooth as I thought as I tried multiple times to create one. After multiple times I felt like I spending more time on it and then resort to continue using my website by creating a new page dedicated for AUM162. I find it a lot more easier to navigate and to maintain my progress as it can be a track record of all that I have done from tri one.

The Earmaster assessment is quite interesting and I find it easy and at the same time challenging as I continue with it. I think it is a great learning toolkit but needs a lot of concentration as I do it at my own time which can be quite deceiving. If I leave to last minute I think it would drive me nuts so I would rather take it own more frequently as it does add up to the final grade. I see this as testing my time management skills too as it does need time to concentrate on it.

References

Born, G., & Hesmondhalgh, D. (2000). Western music and its others : difference, representation, and appropriation in music. University of California Press

Manzo, V. J., & Kuhn, W. (2015). Interactive composition : strategies using ableton live and max for live. Oxford University Press.

Week 2

In this activity we spent sometime looking at the course outline just to be familiar with it. David spent more time making sure we understand all the details required for the 3 assessment task that we must complete by the end of 12 weeks.

The most significant things I got out of this activity are

  • Breakout rooms with new colleagues different from the previous week
  • Becoming more familiar with the Google drive
  • Earmaster assessment task, Aural skills
  • Structure and rhythm

The breakout rooms helped me to know more of my classmates knowing the level of their skills in the music industry. Sharing each other’s experience was such a fantastic moment as got to know what influences Both individuals in terms of genre and style of music. Both individuals are different but compliments so much and they will work well if they happen to work in a group setting.

The Earmaster aural skill assessment I found it to be quite confusing and interesting at the same time. Reading music is not really my strength but once I got the hang of it I was good to go. The grading system was both great and rewarding especially seeing your results instantly. The bonus was a second chance to retake the same test which boosted my confidence and made me look forward to the next phase.

I believe this subject will help me in terms of theory in music and aural listening skills. It is quite a bit stressful when I think of what to do but I know that the more I reflect on my work the confident I get.

We were tasked to structure a rhythm pattern as part of music creation. This is to get a song in shape and this is called music arrangement. The ideas was to get 3 different genres getting 3 rhythm sections to compose a an instrumental.

References

Kalinak, K. M. (1992). Settling the score : music and the classical hollywood film (Ser. Wisconsin studies in film). University of Wisconsin Press

Pejrolo, A., & DeRosa, R. (2007). Acoustic and midi orchestration for the contemporary composer(1st ed.). Focal.

Week 3

In this activity we spent sometime looking at the course outline particularly on the 3 assessment tasks for this module. David spent more time making sure we understand all the details required for the 3 assessment tasks that we must complete by the end of 12 weeks as he did the week before.

The most significant things I got out of this activity are

  • Breakout rooms with new colleagues different from the previous week
  • More aware of the assessment requirements
  • Earmaster assessment task, Aural skills
  • Structure and rhythm

The breakout rooms were very significant to me as I again got to meet a new colleague who is studying his Diploma in Audio. There is so much potential in this young man and I kept encouraging him to later on consider progressing to do bachelors of Audio. We discussed about the first assessment and the task that David had given us in week one of creating a structure and rhythm pattern as a composition using 3 different artists or genres. It did sound like any easy task at first but then as days went by I began to feel pressure and confusion. I then started doing some research then my confidence bounced back. I usually come up with a rhythm style whilst sleeping or driving then record it on my phone then start playing on my keyboard.

The Ear master assessment aural skills assessment I would is one challenging assessment. At the glance it does look very simple but as I went on session after session I began to feel that the real test was becoming unbearable. Therefore I had to renew the way I process things and paid attention to the questions that were required for me to answer. The first impression was to get this over but as I kept on failing I then knew that it is not about finishing quickly but it is all about testing my listening skills.

My attitude since then has changed and I pay close attention to what is being asked of me as this will count on to my final grade. I also discovered that it is also part of having fun and not to take it like its a boring session. Failure is pretty normal as it allows room for retrial and that has been a huge stepping stone with this assessment.

Another task that has helped me during the activity with David was music arrangement. the activity taught me about 2 music arrangement choices such as dynamics, groove and song structure. I did further research to know more about this concept and discovered that dynamics can be added on any of the parts in the song structure for example a boost in dynamics in the chorus as it works as a extraordinary contrast to the pre-chorus. That means the pre-chorus will be softer in dynamic making the chorus segment a great place to fire into. Other parts like bridge use different chords and may carry a slight different feeling and my carry lighter dynamics that mirror the pre-chorus segments.

Below is the song structure that I come up with.

Song Structure : Intro- Verse 1- Pre-Chorus 1- Chorus 1- Verse 2- Pre-Chorus 2- Chorus 2- Bridge- Instrumental- Chorus 4- Outro

It continues to be a learning curve for me and I look forward to it on a daily basis. My attitude has changed positively in the things I am learning in this subject.

References

Wierzbicki, J. E. (2009). Film music : a history. Routledge.

Week 4

The week’s activity was meeting up for Zoom class with David Page catching on the progress so far with the subject and the well being of each and everyone of us in this covid season pandemic. The subject is very enlightening and needs lots of practise and therefore time management skills are pretty much put to test.

Activities that occurred during Zoom class :

  • Breakout rooms with new colleagues different from the previous week
  • Composition assessment task progress
  • Earmaster assessment task, Aural skills

I spend some time in breakout rooms with a new colleague and an old colleague and check on the well being and they all looked happy and healthy. What amazes me is that all the past weeks I have met those studying diploma in audio and kept on encouraging them to take the step later in completing a bachelor’s in audio. The one thing I have noticed is that if not all are more into Ableton and not Pro tools and they do want to get jobs out there.

I was very encouraged by Tim’s composition that he sampled 3 different genres by taking a baseline from a reggae song and then the melody from a Pop song and the rhythm from a house music. The fusion was quite interesting and it did sound like a remix. The challenge he faced as he said was then creating a composition using that inspiration. I think he has a good opportunity of creating one as I do get inspiration from listen to different genres.

The Earmaster assessment is surely one mind boggling assessment. As I became familiar with some lessons but then things got more challenging as I progressed. The above picture does that my attempts were pretty much being tested and I was struggling very much. I cannot give up and move as the same question will come back and haunt me later on. So I have attempted several times until I got the central idea which would allow me to score the 75% or more. Earmaster is truly an asset and does help even an amateur who has no idea what reading music music is like. I have gained more confidence in reading as I was much more on the practical side and this has empowered me to execute music through reading and playing at the same time. I would say even the shot practise we did with David was very important as he did the same thing theoretically and practically using his guitar.

I so look forward to learning more during class and Earmaster to gain more confidence on a daily basis and growing in music and audio.

References

Hansen, D., Bernstorf, E. D., & Stuber, G. M. (2014). The music and literacy connection (Second). Rowman & Littlefield

Week 5

Reflection

Time surely does not wait or respect anyone, I have seen the importance of time management as a transferrable skill that I should continue to possess on a daily basis. In the zoom class today David reiterated the importance of time management and I am glad to be in sync with that. I will talk more my individual work which includes writing a compositional assessment, Earsmaster assessment and learning journals.

Time management for me is a challenge on a daily basis. The first assessment that is a compositional piece that I have come up with was extracted from 3 different genres picking up the rhythm, melody and harmony. My understanding of rhythm is the component of time in music which comprises the duration and tempo of the song. I chose Bob Marley song ” Turn your lights down low” for the rhythm section.

As for the melody section I chose ” Hotel California” by Eagles

And for the harmony section I chose ” You remind me” by Usher Raymond

So having a listen to this diverse variety of music and learning what features and what differentiates in these genres, scales , tempo, harmony, melody and rhythm patterns helped me in listening skills and an analysing to get a better understanding. Tapping my foot on Bob Marley’s song gave me the beat as I followed the rhythmic pulse of the song which gave me a 90 BPM which is usually associated with Pop and Funk genres. This lead to the dynamics of the rhythm as it started quiet and then picked up mid of it when the live drums come in as it begins with programmed drums first.

The Melody I picked from Eagles song ” Hotel California” as it has elements that focused on the parallel arrangement of pitch which is famous in rock songs. This particular song has traditional major and minor scales and I liked the melody lines and shifted them around to suit my composition.

The harmony I picked from ” You remind me” by Usher Raymond as the harmony pretty much is combining pitches into chords and I played them in unison as a block making different progressions more on the violins. I would to talk more of 3rd or the 7th notes but I am still learning that stuff and I am glad that I am.

References

Hewitt, M. J. (2008). Music theory for computer musicians. Course Technology, CENGAGE Learning

Week 6

Reflection

Main focus this week was final touching my instrument compositional piece which is an R & B & Hip Hop fusion track. It was an interesting creation and I would like to share the workflow used which include but not limited to creativity, challenges and collaboration of instruments.

My inspiration was based on 3 genres where I was required to pick the harmony, rhythm and melody. I chose Bob Marley’s song “Turn your lights down low” due to its bass drum and synth bass fill up the song. To ensure a consistent and accurate timing of the rhythm I had used a click track. I incorporated the quantising midi as an additional measure to ensure all the instruments are in sync. I set markers which made it easy to identify, rearrange and even delete the instruments I had put in. The navigation was faster (easy on the eye) making me spend more time on the composition rather than looking for instruments and notes.

“Hotel California” by Eagles was my inspiration when it comes to harmony. I loved the minor chords in the guitar which kept on reoccurring throughout the song. It has major chords in the chorus section and the interaction of both major and minor chords where really intentional. This inspired me to come up with a selected range of instruments which I used throughout the composition. It was a delicate process and I had to separate excitement from creativity to ensure there was a flow of what instruments can be put together or not. I was required to wear the music directors hat where you know the ingredients (instruments) required however its the right portions that will make it come out right. However that is not a guarantee if you do not have the expertise or creativity. The picture below is a great way to demonstrate analogy that portions, creativity and an imagination can make a great cake. Client wants a cat cake and without expertise you will definitely you will get a “cat looking creature” despite the right ingredients and portions.

As much as I was ok with the pre presentation we were able to showcase it to a few students, and the feedback assured me that I was close enough to the finish line. I used the feedback to tidy up and enhance my final composition which was well received by my tutor and peers. My peers also had some fantastic pieces and I learnt a lot about how they created their work and there was a lot of take ideas and skills.

Ear master this week was bitter sweet. I hoped to just jump in and go go go but I met some sections where I had to give the exercises a couple of attempts before getting comfortable. The sweet part was knowing I was going to the next level. That was encouraging. Learning is an ongoing process as long as one is willing and open to it. As David Page says we are creators and I believe sky is the limit.

References

Hewitt, M. (2009). Composition for computer musicians. Course Technology

Week 7

Reflection

Almost halfway through with the trimester moving quite rapid for me, time never waits for anyone and so I do my best to keep up on top of every challenge. Class time was interesting as SAE had open class sessions and also running Zoom at the same time and participating in class kept the interaction more involving.

I began to reflect on the first composition its success, challenges and workflow whilst working on how to come up with the next composition which is almost the same but different in the sense that it there is more creativity required. Yes I did receive honest feedback and a commended composition but that does not mean I have to relax and take a joy ride but rather use more knowledge that I learnt from Ear master assessment. Moreover the second composition must be a different genre from the first composition which already is a challenge but I look forward to it.

The next composition I am thinking aloud along the lines of Dancehall genre with Arabic & Indian influences in all elements of Both harmony, rhythm & melody. I was watching Aladdin the movie and there was so much inspiration that I got from the movie and its soundtracks. It gave me more ideas towards film scoring which I love to do. I do have a lot of research to do about the kind of instruments that are used such as the Tabla, Saunter e.t.c as they are some of the sounds I do love for quite a while. A happy dance full song with lots of vibe is what I would like to express in the composition. I have started so far playing the melody in my head and then went on to lay a simple piano in Pro tools so that I do not forget it. As days come along I will be listening to it and adding more stuff to the session.

The next composition I am thinking aloud along the lines of Dancehall genre with Arabic & Indian influences in all elements of Both harmony, rhythm & melody. I do have a lot of research to do about the kind of instruments that are used such as the Tabla, Saunter e.t.c as they are some of the sounds I do love for quite a while. A happy dance full song with lots of vibe is what I would like to express in the composition. I have started so far playing the melody in my head and then went on to lay a simple piano in Pro tools so that I do not forget it. As days come along I will be listening to it and adding more stuff to the session.

Syncopation Rhythmic Dictation

Ear master had been a challenge this week as the content became more complex. Before I did the basic one but this particular is very mind stretching which involved a lot of repetition as I had not acquired the minimum expected outcome of 75%. There was a bit of frustration which made me to go to bed to be honest. After a few days of not looking at it, I am now ready for another attempt for the exercise.

References

Hansen, D., Bernstorf, E. D., & Stuber, G. M. (2014). The music and literacy connection (Second). Rowman & Littlefield

Week 8

Reflection

Week 8 it is the weeks not stopping but advancing exposing my workflow to be either lacking behind or excellent in my time management skills. I would say that I am ahead of my time management which gives me the confidence towards excelling.

In the zoom class meeting I pretty much was catching up with my colleagues on how they were going with their health, first & second composition assessment, learning journals & Ear-master. As for my health I was quite down as I had contracted a cold which is still healing as I speak. It did take a strain on me this week and my time management was on as efficient as my body was struggling to cope with the horrible cold. Gladly the week before I had started recording some sounds with microphones such as bottle blowing noise just to create samples for my second composition. Fortunately this exercise I did a few trimesters ago and so I did use the knowledge and recorded it for my sample library.

After 2 days I asked another friend to play the melody line for the chorus with her viola whilst I recorded her. She convinced me that the viola sounds much better than a violin as my desire was to have a violin. To my surprise yes the viola sounded sweet. She played 4 similar chorus lines which I could have duplicated but I prefer it recorded more times. She was excellent and I wish I had the perfect microphones but just used my cheap isk 57 dynamic microphone. Last Friday I had an intern at radio 4EB and got a chance to record a Daf ( an ancient Iran musical percussion) but without the rings. I asked Tsoof the owner of the percussion to play for 3 minutes whilst I recorded him. I had explained my intentions of creating a composition for my project and he gladly agreed. I used the Nuemman U89 condenser microphone in an omni direction and sounded so awesome.

References

Simoni, M. H., & Dannenberg, R. B. (2013). Algorithmic composition : a guide to composing music with nyquist. University of Michigan Press

Week 9

Reflection

Weeks keep moving pretty fast for me and surely the saying that, ‘Procrastination is the thief of time’, is very true. There is not much time and I am doing my best to give my best towards my learning journals, Earmaster and 2nd composition.

The class times with David I find them to be very useful as they keep me on my toes and challenged throughout. I see my colleagues doing excellent work on their journals making them look pretty and neat which I do want to incorporate in my blog writing. I do want to start following the structure in which David set as an example for us but for some reason I get caught up by lots of stuff from internship, other classes and so forth. I think I am just making excuses but I need to be more vigilant with the way I write my journals.

Gladly I began my 2nd composition a few weeks ago and I do continue to develop it almost on a daily basis. I chose a song called,” Burn it up”. Ofcourse the content on the video is not my style having to see half naked women. But the bass line and drum hold the music together. The intro of the song was the catch for me as it has that Indian, Latin hip hop, Reggaeton with some Spanish language to spice it. I borrowed the drum style for my chorus section and the sitar style and harmony for the verse section.

As for sampling I used a cheap isk 57 microphone to record tap drumming on my desk whilst pointing the mic on the stand right on the table. I made sure that I have enough gain structure to be able to get a good recording out of the exercise. It came out pretty good actually. I then sampled again by recording whilst scratching the microphone and it produced an interesting sound that I liked. The great part is that I did all this in the Pro tools session that I had already recorded some parts.

References

Burkhalter, T., Dickinson, K., & Harbert, B. J. (2013). The arab avant-garde : music, politics, modernity (Ser. Music culture). Wesleyan University Press.

Week 10

Reflection

The week reflects on how my studies have progressed as I come towards the completion. Honestly I do feel quite confident at the same time unsure on the progress of my weekly journals. I mean I do write them weekly but there is an element of how to academically write one despite being given examples. What I have decided to do is just focus on the notes provided and zone into every area whilst I jot down all the ideas in my head.

I had a reflective moment during the making of my 2nd composition. I wanted to endeavour in genres I had never attempted. This slowed me down because I didn’t realise I had a sea of ideas and was overwhelmed with it all but somehow found got onto something. Looking back I had inspiration but never made use of it – the Ear Master. It has great tools such as short melodies in the exercises that can serve as great starting points in song writing. Even the clapping exercises give you a rhythm to work with. I hope I will still have access to ear master at least one more time so I can utilise it in my creative space to imagine songs. Sometimes all you need is a sparkle to create a mean production.

I received very constructive feedback for my second composition from my peers that led to a light bulb moment. One student asked how much Disney paid me for my production and that’s when I realised this could be an avenue I could pursue. Working not just as a music producer for artists but also advertising, movies, games etc. I feel like a Dimond in the rough because I haven’t explored it but it has sent me into an adventure that hopefully one day will lead to big things in the future .

References

Hamilton, A. (2007). Aesthetics and music (Ser. Bloomsbury aesthetics). Continuum

Week 11

Data

  • Earmaster assessment task, Aural skills
  • Learning journal progress

Reflection

The time has really flashed this tri and counting down to the end of my study, exciting at the same time sad, mixed feelings flowing through. As I reflect on the second composition exercise I have a learnt a whole during the process of making the instrumental.

Working with clip gain

Today I do want to talk more on the editing and mixing of the instrumental paying more attention to the reference track that I had selected for my composition. The reference track has the bass and rhythm section tight and holding the song together giving it the solidity. Therefore to get that same kind of feel I did a little bit of research and I came across a website that talks a little more on editing, in-fact the website talks a lot more on pro tools and other DAWs on editing, mixing and mastering. The one essential point mentioned by one of the experts was that editing makes the rhythm section solid if you pay attention to it making sure the bass and drum are on time with fades closing the each part. I found that to be one element that solidified the groove on my composition.

Clip gain too I found it to be handy making sure that volume levels are some what well balanced particularly strings and violins. It allowed me not to temper much with the mixing fader for each track but rather clip gain became a best friend.

References

Shinn, M. (2013). Instant musescore : learn to create beautiful scores and quality sheet music with this popular free music composition software. Packt Publishing

Week 12

Reflection

The final week has indeed arrived so quick and I just cannot imagine how time has flown to and I am tasting a bitter sweet moment of celebrating and sadness as we have come to the end of this class.

I have absolutely enjoyed this subject and in particular David Page’s teaching skills which are so practical having that holistic approach towards students, not only thinking about teaching them only but checking on the health of everyone every week in class. The teamwork that was in the class was so amazing and it helped in unifying us in helping each other with feedback on our projects. I was happy to help out with feedback to everyone’s project as it gives them more confidence in improving. I did receive great feedback from everyone and this did not make me to be complacent but rather keep the creativity drive focused. Both compositions were different and surely they were not easy to create and moreover the Ear-master assessment challenged me so much that I kept redoing it and still keen to continue in my struggle as it builds endurance and more understanding.

The recording of both audio and midi for second composition did open up more opportunities of learning production skills bringing the excitement in my ears and hands. I loving recording foley therefore audio recording is one thing I like making a portfolio of all the recordings so that I can use them in music, film, animation and sound design. I do endeavour to continue sharpening my research skills as I feel that I have the capacity but need to continuously practise on a daily basis making it a priority. I do not want to procrastinate on this subject as it is very essential making effective learning results which I have seen others progressing.